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Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

These cookies look like little snow-covered mountains. Roll each ball in confectioners' sugar twice to make sure it's thoroughly coated and no dark dough is visible.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 18
Chocolate-Espresso Snowcaps

Source: Everyday Food, December 2003


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Confectioners' sugar, for coating


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in milk until just combined. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour confectioners' sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.

  3. Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool cookies on a wire rack.


Martha used 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, for coating.

Reviews (82)

  • kimjenene 23 Dec, 2014

    I have made these time and time again, and they are always a hit. The chocolate and espresso scent just emanates from the cookie. I think people are just overly complicating the work, just use those hands and make the dough into a one inch-ish rough ball (it doesn't have to be perfect!) and get it into that powered sugar over and over. There really is no special technique needed. But, freeze that dough to ensure you can manipulate it.

  • monkeybone134 28 Dec, 2012

    These didn't really work for me.. I think I may have used too much milk :(

  • sljohnston 18 Dec, 2012

    Also, I found the dough extremely easy to work with. I flattened the dough into a rectangle then chilled it. When I took it out I cut it into 18 pieces and pressed two at a time into a rough ball shape and tossed in the first coating icing sugar. They were super easy to roll.

  • sljohnston 18 Dec, 2012

    These cookies are fabulous! The recipe is very easy. I left the cookies in for just 12 minutes so they are very fudgey inside, with a deep chocolate/coffee flavour. I agree with others that you need to use high quality chocolate and espresso powder. The first time I made them I didn't roll them in enough icing sugar so they weren't white, but the second time they came out just like the photo. This recipe is a keeper!

  • kimba603 11 Dec, 2012

    These cookies do taste amazing and look spectacular!
    A few on each tray didn't come out as spectacular as the others though - the "cracking" effect looked more like a crumble effect. The dough became very soft in my hands as i rolled the balls so i found I had to pop it back in the freezer and then come back to the rolling. Anyone have any additional tips?

    Also, how did Martha use the butter for the coating?

  • jackie brondolo 4 Nov, 2012

    These cookies were good right after coming out of the oven when they were still warm. However, they did not freeze well. Not sure why, but they tasted stale even when I froze them the day after baking and put them in an air tight container.

  • anyalu 12 Jan, 2012

    I don't know about freezing, but I know when the icing got a little 'mussed' in storage, I put a pile of confectioner's sugar on a plate and lightly dipped the high ridges on the cookies in the sugar to 'freshen' the whiteness of the icing part before serving.

  • josien 15 Dec, 2011

    These are awesome. the best.

  • vickiharte17 13 Dec, 2011

    These cookies are intensely flavored with chocolate and espresso...just DELICIOUS! The are crisp on the outside with a nice chewy center. I needed these for a cookie swap and tripled the recipe and it worked out perfectly. These will definitely be on my cookie tray annually!

  • branmatt 12 Dec, 2011

    Does anyone know if you can freeze these cookies? I am afraid the icing sugar will melt when they defrost.

  • CasaDeCanine 11 Dec, 2011

    Holy cookies! This is only my second recipe from Martha and these cookies turned out AWESOME! Chewy in the middle and crispy on the edge. Perfect with a glass of milk. I doubled the recipe because 18 is not enough.

  • HomeOptimizer 9 Dec, 2011

    shaunabelle -- Yes. Espresso coffee and any dark-roasted coffee beans do have a burnt or smoky smell and taste. If that's not to your liking (I'm not fond of it either), just substitute regular instant coffee.

  • shaunabelle 7 Dec, 2011

    These taste a wee bit 'burnt' even though they are not over-cooked. Could my espresso powder be the culprit?

  • aprilhinks 29 Nov, 2011

    Best Coffee Lovers Cookiee ever!

  • nunumel 23 Nov, 2011

    best cookies ever

  • Titus2Homemaker 9 Feb, 2011

    njcreates: Are you using a different brand of flour? Different brands use different percentages of various wheat varieties, some of which hold more water than others. I would try adding a little extra flour next time and see if that fixes them.

  • nsjenks 24 Jan, 2011

    My sister and I have been making these for a couple years, and suddenly the cookies are spreading more ... they turn out larger and flat rather than the nice little crackled mounds. Any suggestions?

  • hivcns 24 Dec, 2010

    Wonderful grown-up cookie! Looks great, delicious!

  • Marisa_Spain 22 Dec, 2010

    I just made them this afternoon, and they are incredible! Very easy and delicious, and they look incredible, just like the picture.

  • holly_elizabeth 22 Dec, 2010

    I'm not sure why other people are saying these taste terrible. They're just like little brownies but with the added kick of espresso. The only change I made was I used two teaspoons of espresso instead of four, because I didn't really want them to taste like coffee; I just wanted them to have the added depth in flavor. I used two extra teaspoons of cocoa powder to make up the difference.

  • ma_jo_se 19 Dec, 2010

    I just made this cookies and taste delicious!! As Martha said, use your best instant expresso and cocoa. The only problem is that they turned out quite hard and the sugar kinda melted, but they still look well. I think next time I'll leave them less in the oven and at a lower temp.

  • kathleenu 17 Dec, 2010

    these are YUMMY! instead of espresso though, i used 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract for my holiday baking and they were a HIT! delicious! I also just leave the dough in a bowl to firm up, much easier than trying to form a disk!

  • nujbabs 17 Dec, 2010

    We made this and didn't add espresso and it still work:) This recipe is a keeper:D

  • Debraji 16 Dec, 2010

    These Cookies have become my favorite Christmas fare - a newer version of the recipe has you rolling the dough in sugar first then the icing sugar which makes for an even more spectacular cracking effect also I bought a cookie scoop a smaller version of an ice cream scoop that makes the job so much easier, another score for science! Bon Appetit

  • marlenu 3 Dec, 2010

    So nice cookies. It's cool that you puts them into oven as a balls and puts out as a flat ;)

  • missmoe_d 26 Nov, 2010

    These cookies are amazing. They are easy to make and the first batch has already disappeared at our house. Get baking!

  • CarenJean 11 Nov, 2010

    Stop what you're doing and make these right now! They are delicious and weren't hard at all. They also look really pretty.

  • lemon23 19 Jun, 2010

    these are very good - makes a great updated christmas cookie! pretty easy too!

  • swinters 30 Dec, 2009

    I have made these two years in a row for holiday cookie plates, they have now become a favorite. Very easy to make and very delicious!!

  • suzengreen 22 Dec, 2009

    i made these cookies this afternoon and they were a great success! i didn't roll the dough into a disk, instead i stuck the entire bowl (covered with a lid) in the freezer until the dough was firm enough to work with. i scooped the dough with a spoon, rolled into small balls and then dipped them in the sugar. great recipe!

  • flower2009 21 Dec, 2009

    I made these cookies tonight and they turned out great. I only rolled them in the confectioners sugar once and then baked them for 9 minutes at 325 degrees.

  • nestickradt 4 Oct, 2009

    I live in Florida. By the time I was done making the dough and ready to form it into a disk, it was so runny I couldn't. Any suggestions on how to make the dough not so runny?

  • MaryAnn717 10 Mar, 2009

    I think this recipe is the best. These cookies are delicious. I am planning on making them for my niece's shower in a couple of weeks. I love these cookies. They are one of my favorites.

  • MaryAnn717 10 Mar, 2009

    I think this recipe is the best. These cookies are delicious. I am planning on making them for my niece's shower in a couple of weeks. I love these cookies. They are one of my favorites.

  • MaryAnn717 10 Mar, 2009

    I think this recipe is the best. These cookies are delicious. I am planning on making them for my niece's shower in a couple of weeks. I love these cookies. They are one of my favorites.

  • MaryAnn717 10 Mar, 2009

    I think this recipe is the best. These cookies are delicious. I am planning on making them for my niece's shower in a couple of weeks. I love these cookies. They are one of my favorites.

  • MaryAnn717 10 Mar, 2009

    I think this recipe is the best. These cookies are delicious. I am planning on making them for my niece's shower in a couple of weeks. I love these cookies. They are one of my favorites.

  • karendub 8 Feb, 2009

    Made these for Christmas. They turned out delicious. Used instant coffee because that was all I had, still turned out good albeit without a very strong coffee taste. However I found that the dough troublesome. It melts very easily when working into balls and dusting my hands did not help much. That said though, I would certainly make these cookies again time permitting.

  • 2jhy 10 Jan, 2009

    Excellent version of the Chocolate Crinkles that were my childhood favorite. None of the other moms made it (choc chip or vanilla cake cookies predominated). Mommy was an artistic genius, the way she "handcrafted" that sugar mosaic. (I thought she sculpted the cracks!)
    Anyway, the expresso and dark chocolate are nice grownup touches; a bit more sophisticated on the palate. And still very beautiful, even if it comes from Science, not the Baker.

  • manitougirl 5 Jan, 2009

    These are so easy to make I thought I would give these a second chance. My first batch turned out well but I and everyone else who tried them thought they tasted awful. Most thought there was too much confectioners sugar on them so this time I only rolled them in sugar once. I then took them to the office where they will eat anything left sitting on the counter in the lunch room. The consensus there was that they were still not good enough to ever bother to make them again.

  • StephyMomOfThree 24 Dec, 2008

    I tried these, and they turned out wonderful! I couldn't find instant expresso, so I just used the darkest roast of instant cofee I could find, using rounded scoops instead of level. They were surely not as strong this way, but they were still very tasty and you can still taste the coffee flavor. They look great too!

  • joanie hulsey 23 Dec, 2008

    If you love dark chocolate and espresso these are for you! I made these for a cookie swap and they were hands down the favorite. I did use really good chocolate. Everyone loved them.

  • manitougirl 22 Dec, 2008

    I reduced the temp to 325 for 10 minutes. To be kind to the environment I use silicone cookie sheets instead of parchement paper. They turned out well, did not burn but taste absolutely terrible. What an abuse of chocolate!!

  • kmrws 22 Dec, 2008

    SO GOOD... you must try them if you like chocolate

  • jammiejulie 21 Dec, 2008

    A favorite! Very chocolaty and soft--that's my type of cookie.
    I ran cold water over my hands several times while forming the balls. It is still messy, but it helped.

  • dragon_mfb 19 Dec, 2008

    You really have to watch the time on these things. I cut my temp to a little below 325 (oven burns hot) and time down to 7 - 8 minutes. Made a quadruple batch for a cookie swap. After 2 doz (I started making them too small, so had more than 4 doz) they finally started looking like the picture. Hoping they transport well so they'll look somewhat the same when I get them to work.

  • AnyPenny 18 Dec, 2008


    I also had a problem with the cookie dough "melting" in my hands while I rolled it into balls. I froze it between baking batches but ultimately it will be messy.

    Also, beware those of you who have ovens that tend to be too hot--I have such an oven, and I burned my first batch! I decreased the baking temp to 325 and that solved the problem.

  • CourtneyPickard 17 Dec, 2008

    I just took the cookies out.

    After cooking the cookies on parchment, I took them out at 12:20 and every single bottom was burned black.

    I am wondering if this has to do with the altitude I live at? I live in Pueblo, CO, which is approximately 4700 ft above sea level. I am very very disappointed in this recipe because everyone else seemed to have great reviews!

    With that said, does anyone have suggestions on how to alter this recipe so it fares better for me next time?

  • CourtneyPickard 17 Dec, 2008

    I just took the cookies out.

    After cooking the cookies on parchment, I took them out at 12:20 and every single bottom was burned black.

    I am wondering if this has to do with the altitude I live at? I live in Pueblo, CO, which is approximately 4700 ft above sea level. I am very very disappointed in this recipe because everyone else seemed to have great reviews!

    With that said, does anyone have suggestions on how to alter this recipe so it fares better for me next time?

  • branmatt 16 Dec, 2008

    I just finished making a double batch of these cookies. You can easily double this recipe with no problems. They are amazing. I didn't have any instant espresso, so I used finely ground espresso beans. The results are amazing, there is a nice lttle crunch with the ground coffee beans. This will certainly be a recipe I will use every Christmas.

  • Marthafan76 16 Dec, 2008

    These cookies turned out Fantastic

  • daschaffer 15 Dec, 2008

    I just finished making these and they turned out great. To stop the cookies from sticking to my hands I dusted my palms with powdered sugar, no harm in it, easy clean up too.

  • waggles 14 Dec, 2008

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. My mother made these cookies when I was a little girl (without the expesso), and I thought I would never have the recipe. These are wonderful and bring back so many memories!

  • chmurag 14 Dec, 2008

    These freeze very well. I use instant decaf espresso. I went to a party yesterday and had this cookies made by someone else. She used the cheap baking chocolate. Ugh! What a difference! As Martha says, use the best quality ingredients. Use really good chocolate, believe me, it matters.

  • kiminindy 14 Dec, 2008

    To Panda123...there is a great recipe for these same cookies from Marcel Desaulenier (sp?)...the Death by Chocolate guy. He has a book "Death by Chocolate Cookies" and it does not call for coffee and I think you can use different powdered coco. Hope this helps. His cookies are fabulous and I highly recommend his book and his resturant "The Trellis" in Williamsburg, VA.

  • artistmoe 13 Dec, 2008

    Hey I am looking for cookies to make now and freeze until I serve them on Christmas day. Do these freeze well? I think it would be great if that info was added to each recipe... If this one doesn't freeze well what cookies do you love that do?
    Thanks Moe

  • judecooks 13 Dec, 2008

    the recipe doubles beautifully

  • 1Toffy 13 Dec, 2008

    For those that asked if the 1/2c of flour is correct, it sounds like it is, with the other ingredients it seems like more of a brownie type cookie.

  • 1Toffy 13 Dec, 2008

    Well gals, Chocolate has a good level of caffeine in the first place. I would go ahead and use the Decaf tho'....just for good measure.

  • I_Endured_Clovis5 13 Dec, 2008

    Could we use instant decaf coffee instead of the espresso?

  • biscottibyfelicia 13 Dec, 2008

    Hi anniequinn..I was thinking the same thing since I wanted to make these for a sleepover my daughter is going to. I don't think the mom would appreciate if the girls stayed up all night because of the cookies I had I will give it a try..more coco instead of coffee. It's not that much coffee so I don't think it will change the texture of the cookie...

  • anniequinn 13 Dec, 2008

    I wonder if I could just remove the coffee and add more cocoa powder. I just don't like coffee or anything with coffee in it.

  • ajkamantigue 13 Dec, 2008

    How weird I made a whole batch last night from martha's cookie book and wallahhh!!! cookie of the day the next day. They're really good!!!!!!

  • homebaker 13 Dec, 2008

    Has anyone tried doubling the recipe? Eighteen cookies wouldn't last long around here.

  • sillyswede 13 Dec, 2008

    You have to remember that the cocoa powder acts like flour in a recipe such as this, and this recipe is right on with the measurements. I think the difference between regular instant and espresso is the "punch" that the espresso gives it. These are the best cookies, and made even better with that double dipping of powdered sugar!!

  • vickymacd 13 Dec, 2008

    Is the 1/2 cup of flour the correct amount. I've found a lot of times, the printed recipe isn't correct. Don't want to make these if it's wrong.

  • mammag 13 Dec, 2008

    I use Dutch processed cocoa for all my baking - has a deeper richer flavor - also you can buy espresso powder and keep the jar in the fridge - it lasts forever. For the messy hands in rolling the cookies - wet them slightly and that works. Been using this recipe for several years and they are really the best. Thanks Martha!!

  • Russtanna 12 Dec, 2008

    I know the espresso/coffee will not make a difference. However, I don't know about the cocoa, but I don't think I'll have access to the dutch cocoa either, so I'm planning on using regular cocoa too. We'll see how it turns out, I think it will be fine! :)

  • panda123 10 Dec, 2008

    Can someone help me?I was wondering if i can use the regular instant coffee instead of espresso?and if it will make a difference if i used dutch processed cocoa instead?

  • judecooks 7 Dec, 2008

    A family favorite! Stock up on the ingredients, these cookies disappear at an alarming rate!!

  • RandiLM 27 Feb, 2008

    A friend shared this recipe with me when it first came out. I've been making them ever since. Really good and nice coffee flavor.

  • laura 24 Feb, 2008

    Just baked a batch of these. They were really good, so chocolatey. My dough was very firm though, a little hard to scoop into balls. I under cooked them a little so they'd be extra chewy. Really good, I'd definitely make them again.

  • ariwano 15 Feb, 2008

    These were absolutely yummy!!! My good friend Dane-o said that it "Stopped his world!!" It's an easy recipe to make. Next time I would work with 1/2 the dough at a time, keeping the other 1/2 in the freezer. The colder it is, the easier it is to handle. This is a keeper.

  • ariwano 14 Feb, 2008

    The cookies came out good but very sweet. It was a hit for Valentine's Day in the office.

  • jilliebeans 27 Jan, 2008

    Oh my gosh, this has turned into my favorite cookie. It is such a huge hit. And I love the idea of refrigerating it for a longer time. Thank you PastaPrincess! :)

  • judecooks 30 Dec, 2007

    HINT: Find a good hiding place for these cookies or make an extra batch!!! They are wonderful!!
    Mine did not dry out at all (maybe I undercooked them?)and they were uncovered on a white tray.
    Don't forget - make EXTRA!

  • PastaPrincess 27 Dec, 2007

    I love these cookies...i have made these for the past two years..this year, i made the dough a week prior to when I needed it and then refrigerated it..I thought that it made the dough much easier to work with.

  • kato 26 Dec, 2007

    These are very "chocolaty" and my husband loves them, but I found them very difficult to handle. Although I had the dough in the refrigerator for over 1 hour, the chocolate was extremely soft and hard to handle.

  • lauremo 26 Dec, 2007

    These are really great. My mom made "chocolate crinkles" for Christmas my entire childhood, and finding this new spin on the recipe was really exciting this year. One warning, these dry out fast, or at least mine did. I recommend making these as close to the day you want to eat / gift them as possible, and keeping them in an airtight container for sure!

  • lpoor47 17 Dec, 2007

    Made these two Christmas seasons in a row, and they are awesome. Gave them as gifts and they requested the recipe. Even if you don't like chocolate, you will love these cookies.

  • LyndaPoo 17 Dec, 2007

    I made these last year as well, and everyone raved about them!! They are so easy, and so festive, and chocolate lovers LOVE them!!

  • irishnlucky11 7 Dec, 2007

    I made these last year with a friend. They were super delicious and easy to make. Rolling the dough into balls got a little messy though, but I think it wasn't cold enough was all.

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